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Future-proof your retail business: key strategies for 2024

Future-proof your retail business: key strategies for 2024

The retail sector has faced many challenges this year.

By the end of November 2023, over 270 retail businesses had gone into administration, surpassing the 248 that collapsed in the whole six months to December 2022.

Key points:
  • Retailers can thrive in 2024 by looking after their people, creating a smooth physical and digital experience and rethinking what drives loyalty.
  • Having an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is essential for attracting and retaining high-quality talent and aligning them with a shared purpose.
  • Technology can enable unified commerce across multiple channels, catering to consumer preferences and enhancing customer profiling.

Despite the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend in November bringing in more than $6 billion for retailers for the second year in a row, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) predicts a slower December trade. It’s hard to say when the economy will recover, but there are three key strategies that business leaders can use to boost their chances of success.

Create an EVP to attract and retain top talent

Pitcher Partners’ latest Business Radar report in September revealed that 25% of the mid-market attributed their success to having high-quality talent, while 32% said attracting talent was a major hurdle.

Retail business owners must have an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) as soon as possible – it’s how your employees connect with a shared purpose and how potential recruits evaluate your company.

Retail is still about people. AI, robotics and automation may make business easier, but people make the difference with the value they create and the relationships they forge.

To create an EVP, you need to understand your people’s career goals and what drew them to your business in the first place. Asking how their experiences have changed since they joined could reveal opportunities to address their needs and keep your top talent in your business. Then, by marketing your EVP internally and externally, you can ensure your team can back and champion what they have co-created.

Having an EVP will lead to a more engaged workforce and a higher staff retention rate, cutting down on recruitment and training costs and enhancing your bottom line.

If you already have an EVP, make sure it still aligns with your workforce. By constantly getting feedback from your employees, you can keep up with their changing preferences and ambitions and support their long-term career plans.

Leverage technology to integrate your online and offline retail

Are your retail spaces effectively communicating with each other? Consider whether a customer’s experience in one store is connected to their online journey.

Retailers must utilise their online platforms to boost in-store sales and vice versa, creating a cohesive shopping experience.

Investing in technology that enables unified commerce across multiple channels caters to consumer preferences regarding shopping location, time and method.

Take the UK retailer Primark as an example. Their high-volume, low-margin approach doesn’t accommodate delivery services. Instead, they focus on a click-and-collect model, which not only increases in-store traffic but also enhances customer profiling by merging digital and physical interactions.

Social media, livestreams, and mobile apps are becoming increasingly important in the consumer’s path to purchase. While a mobile-friendly website reaches a wider audience, an app offers greater engagement and a tailored experience.

Innovate and align with customer values to foster loyalty

With numerous media channels, competing brands, and purchasing options, fostering customer loyalty can be challenging.

While standout products are important, market dynamics can shift rapidly. Brands that fail to innovate risk losing customers to competitors who offer a fresh take or a superior experience.

To cultivate loyalty, retailers should embrace diverse consumption methods, align with customer values, and maintain a consistent quality standard.

Brands need to segment their markets, continually refresh their offerings, and forge genuine connections with customers on issues like sustainability and community involvement.

Accurate customer data is crucial for understanding preferences and addressing pain points, leading to tailored offerings and enhanced experiences. Knowing the available technology and how it can streamline business operations is key to freeing up staff to improve customer service both online and in-store.

As Australians navigate the increasing cost of living, they become more selective with their spending. Retailers that establish a trustworthy personal connection will create a robust retail community ready to face the upcoming year.

This content is general commentary only and does not constitute advice. Before making any decision or taking any action in relation to the content, you should consult your professional advisor. To the maximum extent permitted by law, neither Pitcher Partners or its affiliated entities, nor any of our employees will be liable for any loss, damage, liability or claim whatsoever suffered or incurred arising directly or indirectly out of the use or reliance on the material contained in this content. Pitcher Partners is an association of independent firms. Pitcher Partners is a member of the global network of Baker Tilly International Limited, the members of which are separate and independent legal entities. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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